Theory and Method in the Study of Religion

Twenty Five Years On


Volume Editor: Aaron W. Hughes
Theory and Method are two words that cause considerable consternation in the academic study of religion. Although everyone claims to be aware of and to engage them, the fact of the matter is that they remain poorly understood. Some see the terms as irritants that get in the way of data interpretation and translation. Others may invoke them sporadically to appear in vogue but then return quickly and myopically to their material and with little concern for the larger issues that such terms raise. To contribute to these debates, the present volume reproduces select articles from Method and Theory in the Study of Religion (MTSR) from the first 25 volumes of the journal, and allows a group of younger scholars to introduce and review them, asking if the issues raised are still relevant to the field.

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Aaron W. Hughes, Ph.D. (1968), is the Phillip S. Benrstein Chair in the Department of Religion and Classics at the Univeristy of Rochester. He is the Editor-in-Chief of MTSR and has published widely in Jewish Studies, Islamic Studies, and Theory and Method.

Contributors include: Matt Sheedy, Robert A. Segal, James B. Apple, Neil McMullin, Rebekka King, Russell McCutcheon, Craig Martin, Donal Wiebe, Emma Cohen, Robert N. McCauley, E. Thomas Lawson, Steven Engler, Mark Q. Gardiner, Bruce Lincoln, Sarah E. Rollens, Burton Mack, Yasmin Merchant, Herb Bergh, Jennifer Hall, Darlene Juschka, Ella Paldam, and Armin Geertz.
Introductory Matter
Theory and Method: Twenty-Five Years On
Aaron W. Hughes

Ann Baranowksi and John Morgan

Pulling No Punches: Taking Aim at the Eliadean Paradigm
Matt Sheedy

How Historical Is the History of Religions?
Robert A. Segal

Alleviating the Eliade Effect: Neil McMullin’s Critique of Mircea Eliade’s Regnant Discourse in the Study of Religion
James B. Apple

The Encyclopedia of Religion: a Critique From the Perspective of the History of the Japanese Religious Traditions
Neil McMullin

Letter to the Editors
Gary L. Ebersole

Response to G. L. Ebersole’s Criticism of My Critique of the Encyclopedia of Religions
Neil McMullin

Coffee with McCutcheon: A Conversation about Language, Pedagogy and Critical Pluralism
Rebekka King

Naming the Unnameable? Theological Language and the Academic Study of Religion
Russell McCutcheon

On “Belief”: A Story of Protectionism
Craig Martin

On the Transformation of 'Belief' and the Domestication of 'Faith' in the Academic Study of Religion
Donald Wiebe

Who Owns Culture Now?
Emma Cohen

Who Owns “Culture”?
Robert N. McCauley and E. Thomas Lawson

Lincoln’s Clarion Call for Methodological Solipsism
Steven Engler and Mark Q. Gardiner

Theses on Method
Bruce Lincoln

The Rewards of Redescription: An Assessment of Burton Mack’s Influence on the Study of Christian Origins
Sarah E. Rollens

On Redescribing Christian Origins
Burton Mack

Taking a Critical Turn: Reflections on Islamic Studies and the Relevance of John
Yasmin Merchant

The Implications of, and Opposition to, the Methods and Theories of John Wansbrough
Herbert Berg

“Don’t Drink the Water”: Women, Gender, and the Study of Religion
Jennifer Hall

The Category of Gender in the Study of Religion
Darlene Juschka

Postmodern Critiques Still Challenge the Study of Religion
Ella Paldam

Global Perspectives on Methodology in the Study of Religion
Armin Geertz

List of Contributors
Anyone interested in theoretical and methodological issues in the academic study of religion